Hamilton: Sherlock Holmes: The New Hampshire debate
Political satire: “Dr. Watson,” said Sherlock Holmes, “did you notice something peculiar about the Republican debate held in New Hampshire back on February 6, 2016?”
“No, Holmes, I did not. But, knowing you, I suppose you have deduced something I missed. Probably, something involving that Latin phrase Cui Bono?, meaning: who benefits? Or, in the vernacular: Follow the money.”
“Precisely, Watson. Going into that particular debate, Donald Trump was well ahead in the polls, but was closely followed by Senator Ted Cruz. Trump and Cruz, the two most vocal anti-Establishment candidates were way in the lead, with the other anti-Establishment candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, trailing far behind. Following the two top anti-Establishment candidates were two groups of candidates: Those with legislative experience and those with executive experience.
“At the outset of the debate, I jolly well expected those with executive experience namely, Bush, Kasich, and Christie to try to discredit those with legislative experience; namely, Cruz and Rubio, albeit Gov. Kasich had also served in Congress some years ago.”
“All right, Holmes,” said Watson, “but so far I recall nothing amiss.”
“Watson, my Baker Street Irregulars told me that, going into that debate, Gov. Christie knew his campaign was doomed to failure. A rumor that was confirmed when Christie terminated his campaign almost before all the New Hampshire votes were tallied.”
“So now, Holmes, you are wondering why Gov. Christie, knowing his campaign was doomed to failure, decided to vent his spleen on Senator Marco Rubio instead of Donald Trump or Ted Cruz or any of the others? Was there persona animus between Christie and Rubio of which we were, hitherto, unaware?”
“No, Dr. Watson, I cannot recall that Rubio had attacked Christie. Nor can I recall that Christie had attacked Rubio. So, how do we explain why Christie would single out only one of the other candidates for his blistering attacks? Why did Christie not attack Cruz and/or Trump?”
“Precisely, Holmes. Why would anyone risk coming off as a bully during your probably last appearance on national television to no apparent avail? So yes, there is the age-old question: Cui Bono? Who benefits?”
“Well, by dear Watson,” this is where we also apply Occam’s Razor. This is where we cut to the chase of what we think is the simplest conclusion: Gov. Christie’s parting shots that were aimed at Rubio and Rubio alone had to be directed by some other candidate who saw Rubio as a threat to be dealt with. Who do you suppose saw Rubio has the one candidate who needed to be rubbed out?”
“Well, Holmes, as far as I know, there has not been any strongly personal animus between Cruz and Rubio. As U.S. Senators, Cruz and Rubio would have a mutual interest in promoting the legislative track to the nomination. Moreover, it is not likely that “Gentle Ben” Carson would engineer an attack on anyone. That narrows the suspect list down to: Trump, Bush, and Kasich. Tell me, Holmes, do you know who did it? “
“At this point, Watson, I am not sure; however, I am reminded of that classic American film ‘The Godfather,’ when Michael Corleone says: ‘It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.’”
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the Infantry School, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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